Wildwood Dancing is another re-telling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
It reads more like historical fiction than fairy tale, but the tinge of darker magic makes it more mysterious than the original, and includes a love story, family back story, and is set in Romania (none of which is present in the original story).
I deeply appreciate when a fairy tale is re-told but the author manages to bring up deeper issues and create a backdrop for the story. Fairy tales are all very well when you're young, but as you get older you want to know the why behind the story, and Ms. Marillier brings that forward in spades.
This story revolves around sisters who are closely tied to their cousins' family. There is a dark family secret holding the children together, and as the story progresses, it unfolds until you hold all the pieces in your hands. The love stories (there are two) are deep, bittersweet, and one is dangerous. This book is about how far someone would go for love, and how it affects those around you.
There is peril, despair, anger, sadness, every deep feeling that breathes truth and life into a book.
I liked this re-telling much better than Princess of the Midnight Ball because of that, and while I didn't dearly love this book (too dark and painful), it is beautiful and well done. The characters are real people, the situations true to life (or as true to life as you can get with fairy tales), and the resolution is perfect.
I will be reading more from Juliet Marillier.